Celebrities are duty-bound to set a good example for their fans, but some stars do more than most to put their fame and fortune to good use. These are the altruistic do-gooders who topped Do Something’s Celebs Gone Good list of 2015 with their incredible charitable efforts. Prepare to have your faith restored.
20. Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes may only be 17 years old, but the singer-songwriter has already put his new-found fame to good use. The “Stitches” hitmaker has proved himself to have quite the philanthropic streak, in fact, by launching a campaign to help spread awareness of depression and self-harm. Mendes has also sold off merchandise in order to raise $25,000 for a school-building project in Ghana in conjunction with charity Pencils of Promise.
19. Misha Collins
Judging by his impressive philanthropy, it looks like Misha Collins has taken his role as Castiel the angel on Supernatural to heart. After all, besides being the co-founder of Random Acts of Kindness, the actor has also gone to crazy lengths to promote his causes – including abseiling down a 17-story skyscraper for the charity Shatterproof. Yikes.
It’s a wonder that Shakira has managed to find time to be an internationally successful popstar, considering the amount of charity work she’s involved with. The Colombian singer has endorsed numerous non-profit organizations – including the Juegaterapia Foundation, which helps children with cancer – and she’s even worked as a UNICEF ambassador, too.
17. Caitlyn Jenner
Ever since she came out as a trans woman in 2015, Caitlyn Jenner has done much to raise awareness for transgender issues the world over. And although some within the LGBT community have mixed feelings towards her, Jenner has undoubtedly given many marginalized people a voice thanks to her bravery and public platform.
16. Karlie Kloss
In an age where workplace sexism still runs rampant, Karlie Kloss has worked tirelessly to provide young women with bright and promising careers. What’s more, in 2015 the supermodel joined forces with the Flatiron School to launch the Kode with Karlie scholarship, which aims to give girls a start in the computer science and software engineering fields.
15. Serena Williams
Not content with just being a UNICEF ambassador, in 2015 Serena Williams went one step further in her charitable endeavors by joining the organization’s “1 in 11” campaign. And the project, which seeks to give kids across the globe an education, no doubt benefited from the star power this tennis champ brought to the table.
14. Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham is well known for addressing women’s issues in her hit HBO show Girls, but the star’s campaigning doesn’t stop at the screen. The actress and author has also helped bring attention to sex trafficking through her work with charity GEMS, and she’s been a long-time social media champion of Planned Parenthood to boot.
13. Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling had a pretty unorthodox birthday in 2015 when she decided to turn the idea of gift-giving on its head. Yes, the Mindy Project star sent a tweet out asking fans to name their favorite charitable causes, which she then donated to in the spirit of her 36th year on earth. Now, that’s much more satisfying than cake.
12. Kerry Washington
Speaking of selfless birthday acts, Kerry Washington also used her special day in 2015 to promote a worthy cause. On the day she turned 37, the Scandal actress began promoting a two-week long virtual book drive for the charity First Book, which gives books to children living in poorer communities.
11. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber’s off-stage antics might have earned him a bad reputation, but the singer also showed he has a sensitive side with his non-profit efforts in 2015. That’s because not only has Bieber auctioned items for Ontario, Canada’s Stratford House of Blessing, he also took part in a charity tennis match in aid of Cancer for College. Maybe we should rethink our opinion of him…
10. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato has made it her mission to encourage people to speak openly about their mental health ever since she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010. In particular, the “Stone Cold” singer teamed up with campaigners Be Vocal in order to further spread her message of openness and understanding.
9. Amy Schumer
Gun control is a major topic of debate in the United States right now, and few celebs have been as vocal about the issue than Amy Schumer: partly because in 2015 a shooting at a Louisiana screening of her film Trainwreck killed two people and wounded nine others. The tragedy prompted the comedian to campaign for stricter legislation, and she has since showed her support for the reform movement on social media.
8. Viola Davis
While her openness about racial issues should be applauded, Viola Davis was actually honored with a place on this list thanks to her efforts to combat nationwide poverty. In 2015, and for the second year running, the Help star laudably spearheaded the Hunger Is campaign, which seeks to eliminate childhood hunger.
7. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen
Abortion may be a contentious issue in the U.S., but celeb couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen were unafraid to throw their celebrity weight behind the cause last year. In fact, following a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado in November, the singer and model donated an undisclosed sum of money to the organization.
During a visit to South Africa with charity UNAIDS in 2015, Zendaya met a family of three brothers who had lost their parents to AIDS. And the actress was so inspired by the young orphans that she launched a Crowdrise page to help provide the boys with a better future, raising an incredible $40,000 as a result.
5. John Cena
We’d expect John Cena to set records in the ring, but it was actually a milestone of another kind that earned the WWE star a spot on this list. The big-hearted wrestler has made an unprecedented 500 visits to sick and dying kids through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and his heart-warming achievement was duly honored in 2015.
4. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie continued her storied career of philanthropy and humanitarian action by turning 2015 into another year of immaculate aid work. In particular, she drew attention to the Syrian refugee crisis when she visited Iraq in January that year, and she also established a center for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics.
Support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement has being growing since the controversial shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, and no star has been a bigger advocate than Beyoncé. The singer has used public platforms – including the 2015 Grammys and the 2016 Superbowl – to call attention to the cause, and she even included the mothers of some of the deceased young black men who have been killed by cops in her visual album Lemonade.
2. Miley Cyrus
After calling attention to the plight of the homeless during 2014’s MTV Music Video Awards, Miley Cyrus decided to take her charitable work a step further in 2015. Last year, the “Wrecking Ball” singer established the Happy Hippie Foundation which seeks to help young people living on the streets, as well as those who identify as LGBT.
1. Taylor Swift
When 12-year-old Naomi Oakes was diagnosed with leukemia last year, it meant that she was unable to attend the concert of her favorite singer, Taylor Swift. And so, in an unbeatable act of generosity, the “Bad Blood” singer donated $50,000 to help pay Oakes’ hospital fees – an act of kindness that makes her a most charitable star indeed.